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Friday's Top 10 with NZ Mint: The art and craft movement; Germany's race to the bottom; Canada's obscenely overpriced housing market; 'That little pr**k Quade Cooper'; Clarke and Dawe

Posted in Opinion

Here's my Top 10 links from around the Internet at 12.30 pm in association with NZ Mint.

I welcome your additions in the comments below or via email tobernard.hickey@interest.co.nz.

I'll pop the extras into the comment stream. See all previous Top 10s here.

Both #6 and #6 are worth watching and reading today. I was feeling generous so I put in an extra #6.

1. Art and craft - Adam Davidson writes at The New York Times about the amazing rise of craft manufacturing and the artisan food movement.

It seems like a natural reaction to the globalisation of supply chains and the increasing distance between a product or service's maker and its consumer.

It's also an interesting shift in the way people work.

Some are dumping corporate life for lower wages, but more happiness, in doing something they love.

This is an interesting trend piece from Davidson, who is the co founder of the brilliant Planet Money programme on NPR.

It’s tempting to look at craft businesses as simply a rejection of modern industrial capitalism. But the craft approach is actually something new — a happy refinement of the excesses of our industrial era plus a return to the vision laid out by capitalism’s godfather, Adam Smith. One of his central insights in “The Wealth of Nations” is the importance of specialization. When everyone does everything — sews their own clothes, harvests their own crops, bakes their own bread — each act becomes inefficient, because generalists are rarely as quick or able as specialists.

Huge numbers of middle-class people are now able to make a living specializing in something they enjoy, including creating niche products for other middle-class people who have enough money to indulge in buying things like high-end beef jerky.

Economically, this was an expected outcome. The hot field of happiness economics argues, rather persuasively, that once people reach some level of comfort, they are willing — even eager — to trade in potential earnings at a lucrative but uninspiring job for less (but comfortable) pay at more satisfying work. Some research by the Chicago economist Erik Hurst suggests that half of entrepreneurs start businesses as much to pursue happiness as to make money.

2. A race to the bottom - Marshall Auerback writes about how the Germans are benefiting from the problems in Southern Europe. The euro is lower than the Deutschmark would be and the Germans are exporting their socks off.

Yet so many New Zealanders think the currency markets are free and fair places where only the most noble win in the end...

Here's Auerback at alternet.org, who also points out the Germans have been suppressing wages to keep exporting their socks off for the last decade or so through the Hartz reforms:

Bill Mitchell and Ricardo Welters noted that while the reforms appeared to be successful in early 2003, with lots of jobs created, there was a downside: “From the bottom of the cycle, in mid-2003, employment grew much less quickly than in previous upturns. And much of the rise took the form of ‘mini jobs’ – part-time posts paying no more than €400 a month, regardless of hours.”

The “reforms” actually decreased regular employment. Workers got stuck with so-called “mini/midi” jobs – a new form of low wage part-time employment. Such jobs were hailed as “flexible” and “efficient” by their champions, while detractors noted that they were part-time jobs characterized by heightened insecurity, lower wages, and poorer working conditions.

“Not all is rosy in the German labor market. Felix Hüfner, an O.E.C.D. senior economist in charge of the German desk, told me that he was worried about the fact that about two-thirds of younger German workers did not have permanent jobs. Instead, they have ‘fixed-term contracts,’ which make it easier for companies to let them go when the contracts end. Germany may, he said, be in danger of becoming a ‘two-class society,’ with most older workers in a protected group and most younger ones outside of it.”

3. Germany vs the rest of Europe - The New York Times' Floyd Norris also looks at Germany's export-driven strategy.

The German labor system, with its incentives to move workers to part time rather than lay them off, does appear to have been critical in keeping the country’s unemployment rate from rising more than it did during the credit crisis.

But the decline of unemployment since then has more to do with the fact that Germany — perhaps unintentionally but certainly effectively — has managed to assure that its currency is undervalued, both relative to that of its neighbors and to much of the rest of the world. That has helped the country’s exporters and brought more business to the country.

4. Obama never had a chance - Noam Scheiber writes at The New Republic that in the first days of his presidency Barack Obama was never given a chance to do a really big FDR-style stimulus to get the US economy back on track.

It turns out a proposal for a stimulus package double the size of the one adopted was not included in a key memo first presented to the new President in his first days in office.

In this version of the memo, Romer calculated that it would take an eye-popping $1.7-to-$1.8 trillion to fill the entire hole in the economy—the “output gap,” in economist-speak. “An ambitious goal would be to eliminate the output gap by 2011–Q1 [the first quarter of 2011], returning the economy to full employment by that date,” she wrote. “To achieve that magnitude of effective stimulus using a feasible combination of spending, taxes and transfers to states and localities would require package costing about $1.8 trillion over two years.” Alas, these words never made it into the memo the president saw.

5. China outsourcing to Bulgaria - Der Spiegel reports on China's Great Wall opening a car-making plant in Bulgaria, which is in the European Union.

Bulgaria, the EU's poorest country, is attractive as a labor market because it is an oasis of cheap wages and low taxes. Workers are considered well educated and the country is ideal as the site for a company like Great Wall to launch. Given that wages for factory workers have risen considerably in China in recent years, assembly sites abroad have become increasingly attractive for some manufacturers.

Just as the Japanese and Koreans did decades ago, Chinese automakers are hoping to gain strong positions in the longer term in the Western European and United States markets. The move, however, also reflects efforts by Bulgaria, which has suffered in the global financial crisis, to attract more foreign investment.

6. "Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions" - Paul Mason, the BBC Newsnight Economics editor, talks to Democracy Now about his book and what's happening on the ground in Greece.

His comments start at the 2 minute mark. He points out support for Communist parties is at 43% in Greece. He cites comments from poor people that a civil war is eventually possible.

6. When will China emerge from the global crisis - Here's Michael Pettis' latest missive on what's happening in China. He's always excellent, if long.

He talks about a growing debate within China about the move to free markets and wealth inequalities.

This is becoming a pretty contentious debate. Over the past several months, in fact, we have seen a noticeable surge in articles and reports like this one – often by very prominent academics and policy advisors – criticizing the power of special interests in China. Their main concern seems to be over the constraints these special interests impose on further Chinese development, with the entrenched interests that have benefitted over the last decade or two having become so powerful that they are making it increasingly difficult for China to adjust.

A lot of very smart people in China, in other words, seem to be worried that the country’s governance structure and its development model are no longer able to accommodate the needs of the economy and that it is vitally important to confront the entrenched interest that make change difficult. This is sometimes presented in the foreign press as the debate between the “Chongqing” model versus the “Guangdong” model.

7. Those nutty Canadians - Leith van Onselen at Macrobusiness has done a detailed analysis of the Canadian housing market.

A few real estate spruikers in Australia want Australia to adopt a Canadian-style model for securitising mortgages with Fannie Mae type government guarantees. He's right to be sceptical about Australia's housing market needing more debt.

Canada's housing market looks obscenely over-valued. Mind you, check out where New Zealand is in the IMF unaffordability chart on house price to rent ratios below. We're third behind Canada, Norway (lots of oil money) and just ahead of Belgium (lots of EU pork) and Australia.

Only a year ago, the mainstream view in Canada was that the housing market was bullet-proof and that a US-style meltdown was highly improbable. Now sentiment appears to be changing following a slowing of sales, a build-up of inventory, and early signs of a price correction.

While it’s impossible to know what the future holds for the Canadian housing market, it appears that the risks are now on the downside. With any luck, Canadian house prices will deflate gradually, minimising damage to households, the economy and taxpayers alike. Perhaps such is possible given Canada, like Australia if less so, has seen a big shift in its terms of trade owing to the rise of China. But there is also a risk that prices will burst violently, as they did in the US, potentially exposing Canadian taxpayers to billions of dollars of losses.

As we explained on Wednesday, Mark Bouris and Christopher Joye from Yellow Brick Road Wealth Management have been campaigning hard for the Australian Government to ‘reform’ Australia’s banking system by implementing the CMHC (and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) system of guaranteeing pools of mortgages aggregated from all banks and non-bank lenders. Such a system is expected to end up costing US taxpayers between $120 billion and $190 billion, and from the above analysis, there are legitimate concerns that Canadian taxpayers could end up losing billions of dollar too from the CMHC.

8. Here's some real Internet heroes - Syrian journalists using the Internet to get the story out.

9. Show me the whitebait - This piece from Hawkes Bay Today quoting a very relaxed Graham Henry talking about the World Cup is the most interesting I've seen from him after the World Cup. His description of Quade Cooper will live long in the memory.

Henry told 500 Magpies fans at last night's Hawke's Bay Rugby Football Union's fundraising dinner and auction at Napier's East Pier how he had to entice World Cup hero Stephen "Beaver"Donald off the "whitebaiting circuit" when his first five-eighth stocks took a pounding.

"I asked Beaver how much whitebait he had. When he replied 2kg I said son that's enough to get you in the All Blacks. That penalty goal of his is one of the quickest I've seen and although he was out of the line every time defensively he became a cult hero," Henry explained. "Who said rotation didn't work?" Henry asked before the crowd responded with a huge round of applause.

Last year the ABs played 12 tests in 14 weeks. He said it was easier to get the ABs up for the Wallabies in the semifinal than it was for the final against France because of the transtasman rivalry. "That little prick Cooper helped us," Henry said referring to Wallabies pivot Quade Cooper.

10. Totally Clarke and Dawe - "I don't think it's any secret that Greece has deep-seated problems...the fundamentals are confidence and astrology."

It's a brilliant satire on the fire-fighting economists and politicians in Europe.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment in the box on the right or click on the "'Register" link at the bottom of the comments.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current Comment policy is here.

52 Comments

We propose that the US,

We propose that the US, already the world's most expansionist and aggressive foreign policy power, not like there is anything wrong with that of course - it is all for the sake of liberating oppressed foreign oil, should one up itself and build the true symbol of its contemporary socio-historical status: the Imperial Death Star. Yet the real benefit in addition to blowing up various alien world that refuse to bail out the world's central bank confederacy, is that the cost of construction of said Keynesian masterpiece, would be an epic $852 quadrillion, which in turn would go straight to US GDP.
Now naturally since this entire amount would have to be debt funded, and since MMT tells us that America can issue any amount of debt without a hitch, it would only make sense that the US Treasury should sell $852 quadrillion in bonds at a few basis points in interest (negative rates if possible) post haste, and use the proceeds to construct said engineering marvel. Since modern economic theory tells us that every dollar in incremental debt is roughly equivalent to a dollar in GDP (as idiotic as that sounds), this would result in what can only be called the greatest golden age in the history of America, whose GDP would rise by over 56,000 times overnight to a little over $852,000,000,000,000,000, and all American citizens would be the richest (nominally of course, after all that is all that matters) not only in the world, but potentially in the known galaxy, overnight.
A Modest Proposal To Boost US GDP By $852 Quadrillion: Build The Imperial Death Star

I thought they had a death

I thought they had a death star called the federal reserve?

Yes skudiv, better yet - NZ

Yes skudiv, better yet - NZ should build it, or even better we should build one each...that way we will get a bulk discount on parts... the savings from us both building one would be so big it would fund free education...

Might take care of that

Might take care of that worrisome exchange rate too. 

Only while we imported the

Only while we imported the parts from China skudiv, but seriously, speaking of the chinese - darn, how rude of them not to lend the West more money, I mean we need it more than they do....we have more things to spend it on...and we were the ones who gave them their big foreign reserves in the first place, the least they should do is give some of it back esp in Europes hour of need...
http://www2.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2012-02/23/content_14672918.htm
Then we will export the Death Star and our problems with the exchange rate will be back, oh well... we could always build another... I mean we wouldn't have to do all the staff training again... and we would sell it with big R&M&spare parts contracts...
 

Or we could default in the

Or we could default in the most awesome way possible.

Ha. Good one. cheers Bernard

Ha. Good one.
cheers
Bernard

1) Our economy - of 4

1) Our economy - of 4 million, remote and isolated should be based on such production models.  But no the government has these stupid ambitions to go ballistic “Megalomaniac”.
Some research by the Chicago economist Erik Hurst suggests that half of entrepreneurs start businesses as much to pursue happiness as to make money.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/adam-davidson-craft-business.html?_r=2
 

Historical house price to

Historical house price to rent doesn't really show me anything.  I know for a fact that in the 80's you could buy a house and rent it out for 60%.  It's no surprise those days are over, and I don't expect them to come back anytime soon.  Show me a chart comparing rental yield across the globe, and I might be better able to price them.  5% seems pretty low, 10% seems pretty high, so anywhere in between sounds about right.  I'd be buying all in if yeilds were over 10%, which is where they would be if we had a mean reversion.  I'm sure govt subsidies are propping up yields especially in Auckland, but I can't see that splurge of borrowed money ending anytime soon.

HMS TiTaNiC: ANoTHeR HiSToRiC

HMS TiTaNiC: ANoTHeR HiSToRiC ReINTeRPReTaTioN
Kudos to the kiwi who invented the "Phillips Machine" I'm sure he was lauging all the way to that bank.

And now for a little look at

And now for a little look at the Greek farce....
"The hit parade of demands on Greece keeps right on marching. The Troika has 38 new demands in addition to 10 pages of prior demands that have not been met.
The ten-page list of prior demands need to be met by the end of the month. Fortunately this is leap year so Greece gets an extra day."
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.co.nz/
Followed by the ongoing us joke called "Justice"
"WASHINGTON - Over the past 18 months, the FDIC has filed 22 lawsuits targeting personal finances of former executives at failed banks. Of the lawsuits filed so far, none has gone to trial yet, and three have been settled"
http://www.reuters.com/

Zero on the Greeks getting

Zero on the Greeks getting bent over: "the top news of the past 24 hours without doubt is that in addition to losing its fiscal sovereignty, and numerous other things, the Greek population is about to lose its gold in a perfectly legitimate fashion, following amendments to the country's constitution by unelected banker technocrats, who will make it legal for Greek creditors - read insolvent European banks - to plunder the Greek gold which at last check amounts to 111.6 tonnes according to the WGC."
 
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/projected-piigs-pillage-32335-tons-gold-be-confiscated-insolvent-european-banks
Don't know if anyone here follows Max Keiser- he's pretty kooky - but he's been talking about this for some time...

The Keiser Report is one of

The Keiser Report is one of the few finance focused broadcasts that 'tells it like it is'.
Kudos to RTV - take that capitialist running dogs!

  As Fukushima Goes, So

 

As Fukushima Goes, So Goes Japan
 
Because of the extraordinary and ongoing level of misinformation, disinformation and false information routinely disseminated from the inception of this global environmental cataclysm, many educated onlookers believe that much of what is known with certainty has not, and will not, be shared with the public-at-large. 
 
http://fukushimafive.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/as-fukushima-goes-so-goes-japan/
 
Next to some other interesting links - I recommend to click on the visualisation map - seismic activities in Japan 2011 also.

Another video comment by

Another video comment by Arnie Gundersen.
 
Third, the burning of radioactive materials (building materials, trees, lawn grass, rice straw) by the Japanese government will cause radioactive Cesium to spread even further into areas within Japan that have been previously clean, and across the Pacific Ocean to North America.
 
http://fairewinds.com/content/new-data-supports-previous-fairewinds-anal...

Japan + still with massive

Japan + still with massive problems with the 4 reactors.
More from A. Gundersen: http://vimeo.com/38368502
 

no point over reacting

no point over reacting

C'mon goNZ , this website's

C'mon goNZ , this website's raison d'etre is to do a spot of hickeysterical gloomsterising .....
 
....... if you insist upon being a pragmatic optimist , we'd kindly ask you to take it somewhere else ......

GBH, Yah. Those pessimists in

GBH,
Yah. Those pessimists in Japan have now shut down their entire set of Nuclear plants.
Maybe you could go over there and dig around Fukushima and educate them about pragmatic optimism.
Shouldn't be too long a gig.

More signs of Fukushima

More signs of Fukushima having catastrophic effects all over the world.
The meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may be responsible for a decline in New Zealand's muttonbird population.
 
 http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10802442

Arnie Gunderson is saying

Arnie Gunderson is saying life’s in the northern hemisphere at risk.
 
The Worst Yet to Come? Why Nuclear Experts Are Calling Fukushima a Ticking Time-Bomb
 
http://www.alternet.org/health/155283/the_worst_yet_to_come_why_nuclear_experts_are_calling_fukushima_a_ticking_time-bomb?page=entire%20
 
 
 
We are appealing to the United Nations to help Japan and the planet in order to prevent the irreversible consequences of a catastrophe that could affect generations to come. Specifically, the Japanese people are asking that the UN organize a Nuclear Security Summit to take up the crucial problem of the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 spent nuclear fuel pool. In addition, the UN should establish an independent assessment team on Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 and coordinate international assistance in order to stabilize the unit’s spent nuclear fuel pool and prevent radiological consequences with potentially catastrophic consequences.”
 
http://enenews.com/ability-unit-4-withstand-another-seismic-event-rated-nuclear-watchdog
 

Harrrrrrrrrrrrhahaaaahaaaaaa

Harrrrrrrrrrrrhahaaaahaaaaaa
"No one gives a rat's ass if speculators drive up the price of houses or the stock market to absurd heights. Indeed, Congress goes out of its way to actively promote rising home prices.
 
The Greenspan and Bernanke Fed did the same. Now Bernanke openly takes credit for the rising stock market and encouraging speculation.
 
And where the hell is the blame for this absolutely inane embargo on Iran?
 
No Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program
 
As a matter of record, Israeli intelligence concluded in January of this year, there is No Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program!"
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/price-of-oil-hits-record-high-in-euros.html
 

It's all about "Liberating"

It's all about "Liberating" the oppressed oil.

  Winners take all, the

 

Winners take all, the losers?
In the saga, the winners: - France's Total (35%), Italy's Eni and Anglo-Americans BP and Exxon Mobil
The losers are the ones who those who supported Gaddafi during the conflict:

  • Russia- Tatneft, Gazprom, GazpromNeft and LUKoil, have been left licking their wounds. And, remains to be seen the role Russia would play in the future.
  • China had invested billions of dollars in Libya. The gamble backfired and now it's an agonizing waiting time for them.
  • Israel - decidedly close to Iran, Libya's new fundamentalist regime, gives little doubt regarding its views of the Jewish state

Yet in this time of turmoil, allegiances and fortunes can change, so too who will receive the promised prospective oil. (See box What makes Libya's Oil so special). Furthermore the establishment of a well armed Libyan islamic state, supported by France and Italy in exchange for Libyan oil contracts, comes at the expense of a new strategical nightmare: North Africa is gradually becoming a massive southern front for Europe.

Libya also had it's gold

Libya also had it's gold "Liberated".
Ironicaly Libya had the highest standard of living in North Africa.  Massive govt subsidies on food, a free home for newlyweds, the details are out there, I forget where I read it.

"What can we expect in the

"What can we expect in the near future as a consumer?
 1.Forget about cheap oil, its history. Oil is going to hit US200 in the next 5 years. Prepare to pay US 5 – 6 per litre for your oil.
 2.Car sales will be dominated by efficient hybrid and electric cars by 2025
 3.Prepare to pay more for food, medical, energy and etc due to price inflation.
 4.Prepare for more street demonstration and riots due to lack of food and higher cost of living.
 5.Prepare for a change in lifestyles and be more prudent
6.Be self sufficient – if possible have a plot of land to grow your own food.
 
And what have our government done to alleviate our dependence and also our dwindling supply of oil? The warning signs have fallen on deaf ears and by the time when urgency is needed to confront the problem, it will be too late. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix and the clock is ticking!"
http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article33300.html
What's it mean for silly Kiwi?...inflation...forget the BS from the RBNZ and the other spin outfits...you will be paying out more for food, power, rates, gas, insurance we know about, transport, clothing, building if you are one of the very few still doing this,.....oh yeah things are really looking like recovery and growth have returned...it's boom boom boooooom baby!
"Oh but our export prices will rise"....bollocks they will.
 

Are you deliberately laying

Are you deliberately laying pdk bait?

... those eclectic cars are

... those eclectic cars are an environmental disgrace ...... clean green nat-gas is the way to go ..
 
Get fraccing guys , and bring up that luvvly jubbly natural gas !

"Nothing to see here...move

"Nothing to see here...move along now....MOVE"
"Antonio Horta-Osorio, chief executive of the taxpayer-backed lender, said Lloyds was considering borrowing billions of euros from the ECB to finance its remaining eurozone assets."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9104728/Lloyds-considers-borrowing-money-from-ECBs-emergency-fund.html

What's up with the recent

What's up with the recent resignations of key figures from major financial institutions? http://valuebin.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/mass-resignation-of-the-proxies-why-are-so-many-key-financial-figures-waiving-the-white-flag/
via chrismartenson.com

@ 7 Reuter reports Norway

@ 7
Reuter reports Norway faces severe credit shock because of housing bubble.
And yet .." Norways government boasts the biggest surplus of any AAA rated nation and has no net debt thanks to a 560 billion sovereign wealth fund."
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-12/norway-faces-severe-credit-shoc...

Two simple facts exist right

Two simple facts exist right now:
1: Greece HAS defaulted, they are just being continuely bailedout (but that option will end) to try and save face publicly by Germany and France
2: Excessive debt kills economies and the biggest pushers of debt are.............banks........followed by governments
 

1. Greece HAS defaulted The

1. Greece HAS defaulted
The Bond Holders are being continuously bailed out.

Correct

Correct

Have a looksie at Rogoff &

Have a looksie at Rogoff & Reinhardt's book ( " This time is different " ) , and see that Greece is a serial defaulter ....... their's is a long history , several centuries ,of running up debts , and reneging on paying them back ..... they've spent nearly a quarter of their modern history in the disgrace of being in default ......
 
...... what the shiny-bum-pointy heads in Brussels were drinking or injecting when they decided to allow Greece into the EU & into the Eurozone , Lord alone can guess ...

2: Governments borrow a lot

2: Governments borrow a lot of their debt off 1: banks. But what makes you think that the debt is excessive? In fact what kills is de-leveraging and the total debt burden was more onerous when the crisis began, though some debt has shifted from private to government. Some economists focus only on government sector debt and so they may say that the debt burden is increasing, but in total its not, its decreasing.
For example US private debt to GDP in 2008 was about 300%, now its around 250% and still falling.
http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2012/02/10/rba-rates-decision-roy-morgan-unemployment/
But the economy was apparantly running great guns while the leveraging was going on, and until it stopped and turned to de-leveraging. Maybe that focuses a little to much on the top end of the economy however, because low and middle incomes have been dropping in real terms for absolute decades and these sectors have been getting gradually deeper into debt and gradually losing their savings and becoming less and less secure.
 

Banks and government are just

Banks and government are just like drug pushers.......and the drug they push is 'credit' which is a nice word as we all know for 'debt'.
Having people in debt makes them easy to control, forces them to work at almost any wage, and provides the massive tax stream needed to pay bond holders back PLUS interest.
And many of us do it to ourselves 'voluntarily', voluntary slavery to corporations and government

mr henry should remember that

mr henry should remember that his  record in the world cup is 50%.
he only won in 2011 because of home advantage and because of some odd refeering in the final.
he seens to have plenty to say now but inhis time as coach it seemed it was to hard to get an intelligent comment from any of the coaching staff.
and lets not talk about how much money it cost to win over his time as a coach

Somehow I fail to see the

Somehow I fail to see the American peasant not declaring open season on the BS brigade when the truth is revealed post the election.....! Until then they will have to make do with the stream of garbage media spin.
ie.
"Confidence among U.S. consumers rose more than forecast in February, reaching a one-year high as Americans grew more upbeat about the outlook for the economy"
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/economy/

FYI from a reader via

FYI from a reader via email"
Hi Bernard,

now that asset sales are back on the political agenda, it would be interesting for someone to
do an analysis of whether past asset sales have worked out well for the country.

For instance, I notice that BNZ has recently posted a $500 million dollar profit. NAB bought
BNZ for $1.5 billion in 1992.

It would be interesting to know the total amount of profit that NAB has received from the BNZ.
I imagine it is well in excess of $1.5 billion, even adjusting for inflation.

With an asset sale the government gets a one-off chunk of cash. The downside is that yearly
revenues are down, since the profit-making enterprises are no longer returning their profit to
the government. The government does well in the short term, but loses out in the long term.

Of course, one could argue that the BNZ would not have made such profits if it wasn't
managed by NAB. It is impossible to know whether or not this is the case.

As a scientist it seems obvious to me that, if you want to know whether or not something is a
good idea, you look at the last time you did it and analyse this. This type of reasoning seems
to be outside the mind-set of most politicians and media. Or maybe they are just lazy. Ideas
are judged by talk and rhetoric rather than facts.

Regards,

Phil

He is dead right.  Even a

He is dead right.  Even a simpleton could grasp the fact that selling an asset, and buying liabilities is going to make you poorer.  Apparently the majority of Kiwis voted to be poorer.  The population is right behind the govt, with a very popular Prime Minister, happy to be poorer.
 
There is no hope.

Reader Phil, If pollies were

Reader Phil,
If pollies were motivated by the desire to enhance the country's future we would see more solutions inspired by this aspiration.  Sadly, although this may be the motivation for many who enter politics, it is certainly not what is incentivised when they get to parliament, and it seems that incentives dictate the motives of the majority.  There are some of course who are are driven as much by ideology (rather than team membership), but an idealogical agenda still depends on being re-elected in the short term. 
We tend to assume that pollies view re-election as a reward for their efforts on our behalf, but they don't - they see re-election as their goal and purpose, and anyone with genuine vision that extends beyond the parliamentary term is retro-fitted with party political blinkers.  There is no room for common sense, pragmatism, or genuine far horizon thinking.  Instead we have spin, hidden agendas and re-election-or-bust motivated rhetoric (more spin). 
I am not sure what the answer is, but I am damn sure there is one, but it won't come from within the corrupted system we have without a seismic shift in public awareness.  What could prompt that I wonder... Chickens coming home to roost perhaps?
 

Interesting chart here,

Interesting chart here, showing how common deflation was on a gold standard 1666-1971, looks like about 50% of the time was deflation, yet no deflation after the gold standard was abandoned.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Historical_Inflation_Ancient.svg

 “Neither a lender nor a

 “Neither a lender nor a borrower be.” If you borrow to invest, it will interfere with your survivability. Unleveraged portfolios cannot be stopped out, leveraged portfolios can. Leverage reduces the investor’s critical asset: patience.(To digress, excessive borrowing has turned out to be an even bigger curse than Polonius could have known.

It encourages nancial aggressiveness, recklessness, and greed. It increases your returns over and over until,

suddenly, it ruins you. For individuals, it allows you to have today what you really can’t afford until tomorrow.It has proven to be so seductive that individuals en masse have shown themselves incapable of resisting it, asif it were a drug. Governments also, from the Middle Ages onwards and especially now, it seems, have proventhemselves equally incapable of resistance. Any sane society must recognize the lure of debt and pass lawsaccordingly. Interest payments must absolutely not be tax deductible or preferred in any way. Governments mustapparently be treated like Polonius’s children and given limits. By law, cumulative government debt should begiven a sensible limit of, say, 50% of GDP, with current transgressions given 10 or 20 years to be corrected.) But, back to investing …

http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/82746862

Mish mashes and

Mish mashes and idiot...!
"There is no polite way to put this so I won't. Sen. Kevin de León is clearly a certifiable nutcase.
 
Stoctkon and Vallejo California are both bankrupt over insane promises made to public union employees. So is Detroit Michigan, Central Falls Rhode Island, Providence Rhode Island, and Harrisburg Pennsylvania.
 
Numerous other cities will eventually be forced to seek bankruptcy. Los Angeles and Oakland and at the top of the list.
 
Numerous airlines and GM went bankrupt over defined benefit pension plans.
 
De León's bill would bankrupt countless small businesses trapped in its wake."
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.co.nz/

You lot should stop what

You lot should stop what you're doing and have a long gork at the reports here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/

Now here is an actual factoid

Now here is an actual factoid pointing to an oversupply of housing in NZ.  2.3 bedrooms per person.  OECD average 1.6, NZ is the third highest in the OECD after the usual suspects Aussie and Canada.
http://oecdbetterlifeindex.org/countries/new-zealand/
 
Interesting reading, how we stack up against the rest of the OECD, generally pretty well with the major exception of income, however I think our higher exchange rate will fix that.

Let's start the week with a

Let's start the week with a comment aimed at the liars and their mates the parasites.
"financial and currency systems are run by the Central Banks and public servants and prey upon their citizen's wealth for redistribution to government dependents, elites, crony capitalists and government employees. The whole fabric of developed-world governments is PREYING on the private sector in one manner or another: currency debasement; crony capitalism through oppressive regulation; and taxation of virtually any activity in which a human engages, and they say they are serving and protecting the public. THE END IS NEAR. They have preyed on the private sector to the point that the goose is DEAD and can no longer lay eggs."
http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article33321.html
Today our tweak and fiddle fools finally show their hand with some more minor tweaks and fiddles in the social welfare area...the landlord supplement rort will be kept safe from any changes because the recipients are National rumpers and the tenants think they are getting a good deal too...heck even the parasites and the RE liars love the game.

Wouldn't it be convenient for

Wouldn't it be convenient for the market if they didn't need to explain the market failure that is the global financial crisis and could blame the whole thing on the government.
 

Craft business.  It's not

Craft business.  It's not neccessarily because of a 'lifesyle' choice.
Small business is very efficient and productive.  Not the common view I know.
Big business flourishes not because it is efficient, but because they have control.  Which does work.  But is not productive.  And Governments have taken the lobbyist dollars and made it even easier for big business.
Any interest in productivity would look more to the small businesses and setups.